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Bald eagles sticking around Wichita

A mature bald eagle plucks a fish out of the icy Arkansas River between Lincoln and Harry streets on Thursday afternoon. Bald eagles are abundant in the Wichita area right now, with most being seen around the Arkansas and Little Arkansas rivers.
A mature bald eagle plucks a fish out of the icy Arkansas River between Lincoln and Harry streets on Thursday afternoon. Bald eagles are abundant in the Wichita area right now, with most being seen around the Arkansas and Little Arkansas rivers. The Wichita Eagle

Even eagles’ relatives come to visit during the winter.

Wichita always has bald eagles, but some folks around town are seeing more than normal lately. Bob Gress, former director of the Great Plains Nature Center, said the increase is due to bald eagles from farther north coming to stay.

The birds aren’t exactly migratory, but they like being able to eat, he said.

“It depends entirely on ice and winter,” Gress said. “If it is open (water) and provides good hunting, they’ll stick around.”

Gress said the northern birds should stay for about another month. If the winter gets cold enough, even the local birds will leave.

Bird watchers can most likely find the eagles roosting in the biggest trees along the Arkansas River south of Kellogg.

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